Piers 30/32; San Francisco, CA; 07/13/02

Reviewed by Paco

If you like your hard rock new, kind of underground and a bit on the punk side, there is no better festival than the Vans Warped Tour. As always, there are far more bands playing than you can possibly see. There are at least 3 stages active at all times, so it's a matter of picking and choosing and wandering around to see what strikes you. Here's who I saw:

Reel Big Fish: (http://www.reel-big-fish.com) Good and funny ska. This is pop-punk with a horn section. It was a good start to the day. Lots of jumping up and down in the pit.

Trust Company: (http://www.trustcompanyband.com) This is a band to watch. It's not really punk, just very solid, hard rock. Kind of like Drowning Pool, but much better. Their debut CD comes out July 23, but they have already done a song for a WWF soundtrack.

No Use For A Name: (http://www.nouse4aname.com) This is a very underrated band. They've been around for about 14 years playing a mix of hardcore emo punk that's hard to beat. They keep getting better, too. The pit was pretty good, with quite a bit of crowd surfing.

Flogging Molly: (http://www.floggingmolly.com) This Irish hardcore pretty much shredded. Adding accordion, violin and mandolin to the usual guitar-drums-bass gave an interesting sound. I had not heard much of them before, but they really impressed me. They had a good pit and crowd was very much into them.

Hot Water Music: (http://epitaph.com/bands/index.html?Id=86614) They definitely fall on the emo side of punk, but it's a more interesting, harder kind of emo. I like their CD's quite a bit, but they were only OK live. The music was good, but the vocals didn't come out very well.

The Deviates: (http://www.deviatesrock.com) They totally shredded. This is serious hardcore punk, but it's still melodic, like Pennywise. They were playing on the Volcom stage and had a good circle pit going that was scaring some of the spike-haired kids who thought that MxPx was punk.

Alkaline Trio: (http://www.alkalinetrio.com) This was pretty mellow and kind of boring. It's more indie/emo than punk. I skipped out on this after a few songs to go listen to Tsunami Bomb. 

Tsunami Bomb: (http://www.tsunamibomb.com) This is a local bay area band that I dug quite a bit. It's good, hardcore punk with a female singer. It was more hardcore than my friends were up for, so we didn't stay too long, but I did pick up their CD. They have a new disc coming out this fall. 

NOFX: (http://nofxofficialwebsite.com) One of the grand masters of punk, NOFX really kind of sucked at this show, and they admitted it. Fat Mike, the singer said that they played all of "White Trash, Two Heebs and a Bean" (one of their CD's) for LA, but for us, it was just a bunch of crap. One  of the best things about NOFX is Fat Mike's sense of humor. So, even  though they played a bad set, Fat Mike made it worthwhile.

Bad Religion: (http://www.badreligion.com) They played at the very end of a long day out in the sun, but Bad Religion had the most intense pit of the day. During the first song, so many people were rushing the stage, trying to get closer, that it was scary for a bit. Once that settled down, the entire crowd was jumping and singing along to the songs. They played a lot from their new CD ("Process of Belief"), which shreds, and about half a dozen songs from their older releases. Like all the other bands, their set was 30 minutes, but they could have easily kept the crowd going for another couple hours, even though we were all well sunburned and very tired. Without a doubt, they were the highlight of the show.

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Copyright 2002 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 23 Aug 2016 22:57:16 -0400.